We spent our weekend alternating between Fabulous Fern’s and Fasika.
Previous to this experience, I had never tasted injera and was under the impression one either had a “love it” or “hate it” reaction. I loved injera’s soft and spongy texture and sourdough flavor upon my first taste.
Needless to say, the children and staff were enthusiastic about Aster’s chicken dora wat, rice seasoned with onion, garlic and cilantro, homemade hot sauce, and injera. I have since visited Fasika once when I had a intense craving for chicken dora wat and have been yearning to return ever since. This evening was the perfect opportunity to order a sampler platter with Jake who had never tried any version of African food before.
510 N. Snelling Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104
Fasika is located in Midtown and you must park on the street since the back lot is reserved for another store. We arrived on a Friday evening around 8 p.m. and though the restaurant was buzzing with customers, we were seated quickly. The atmosphere was friendly and cozy and filled with individuals and families of various colors, ages, socioeconomic statuses, etc. The women staff coo’d over a young family’s newborn baby and tenderly passed her around as they took turns holding her.
To begin, we tried a couple of Ethiopian beers. Can you tell which beer was mine? I got scolded for the bad pour job.
Jake ordered the Harar beer, $4, to the left which had a light flavor and pleasantly sour punch which mellowed after the first taste. I ordered a Meta, $4, a variety that our waitress mentioned was one of her favorites. I loved the mellow flavor of the beer, while Jake preferred the tanginess of his Harar.
The Ultimate Combination
We ordered Fasika’s Ultimate Combination for $36.50. We both wanted to try whatever Fasika was willing to bring us. I have enjoyed reading reviews from other local food bloggers who ordered combination platters such as You Care What We Think and Lazy Lightning.
This bad food blogger forgot to her digital camera. . . again. . .
Pictured above is the Ultimate Combination platter. This platter included both vegetarian and carnivorous delights. Most of the meat and vegetarian dishes were slow simmered. Exceptions to the slow-cooked/stewy style included a crispy green salad that packed unexpected heat in addition to a lamb tibs dish that included small pieces of flavorful meat laced with crusty caramelization. We enjoyed everything on the platter. Some of the memorable samples included a fluffy and tangy white cheese, Chicken Dora Wot (which always includes a hard boiled egg), Beef Doro Wot, tender cooked greens called Gomen, small, spiced chickpea flour dumplings, a couple lentil dishes, and vegetable stew dishes.
Of the whole platter, my personal favorites included the Wot sauce, lamb tibs, and vegetable stew called Atkilt of which I picked out every velvety slice of cabbage. Jake’s favorite dish was the lamb tibs and lentil stew. Although he enjoyed the injera, he was surprised by it’s texture. We both enjoyed eating with our hands, an experience I seek and recreate whenever possible. I feel more happy and content when I can eat with my hands.
On Saturday, we returned to Fabulous Fern’s for Jake’s 10 year high school reunion. I played hooky from my high school’s five year reunion, feeling that five years wasn’t quite enough time to feel quite removed. But I couldn’t wait to curiously observe Jake’s 10 year. I had low hopes for the food since I couldn’t recall anyone speaking or writing of Fabulous Fern’s and I remembered the chlorinated smell that permeated the entryway when we stopped by the evening before.
A large popcorn machine lay near the bar for customers to serve themselves. I love popcorn and rank popcorn in my top two favorite smells. Fern’s popcorn was surprisingly good, salty, and buttery. I will embarrass myself by digging around for the brightest yellow kernels of popcorn.
As we were mingling and spending time with Jake’s posse of high school friends, we ordered from the bar menu.
The large portion of fries were crispy and covered in a tasty seasoning salt. I’m kind of a sucker for seasoning salts. They didn’t taste like handmade fries, but I was satisfied. They were accompanied by a runny, creamy ranch type of dip.